Tuesday, 19 April 2016

A memorable occasion

Ann's birthday is only a few weeks away, and so it was time to send out the invitations. She opted for a long lunch at Moustakallis in Polis, and Andreas could not have been more helpful. The suggestion for us all to have either the fish or meat meze was inspired as that means there is no rush, and food and drink can be consumed at leisure. Sadly one of our guests, Sylvi, will still be in the UK but Pete emailed straight back to say he would attend and was looking forward to the day.

The weather should be fine, and our friends Becky and Pam will be staying with us as well - so we are looking forward to the day. Just about everyone else has replied and so the plan for Ann to have a lovely day, surrounded by her friends, is coming together.

Spring here in Cyprus disappeared as soon as it arrived, no doubt frightened off by the approaching summer. I dipped my feet into the pool the other day, and the water is much warmer than a week ago - but not quite warm enough to immerse my body in. But a couple of weeks should suffice and then it is swimming until October. For those following us out here, a private pool is the way to go. Of course it costs, but we would not be without it.

No doubt the news from the UK will do its best to depress us all, but the sun is shining, the wine is cool and life here is good.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Check the oil and water, Sir?

Argaka is not a large village, although it covers a surprisingly wide area. Imagine our excitement and surprise when a site opposite the bakery was levelled and a concrete base was installed. The rumour mill went into overdrive and it became clear that there was to be an Eko petrol station there. Quite useful if you need petrol and don't want to drive into Polis. Work has been proceeding and bets were taken as to how long it would take to get up and running.

And then ... lo and behold ... a second site began to be developed. What could it be? And then ... Esso flags were erected on the roadside and massive earthmoving equipment arrived. There was more heavy plant than you could shake a stick at, and it became obvious that Argaka was to have a second petrol station. Fascinating and ridiculous at the same time. I doubt whether Argaka and the surrounding villages will generate sufficient trade to support one petrol station, never mind two.

What will happen, and the betting book is not even open on this one, is that both petrol stations will charge exactly the same amount for petrol and diesel. Competition is a word that is never spoken aloud in Cyprus, it seems, but any suggestion that some cartel is in operation is ridiculed.

We shall watch and wait and see. Will there be a race to open first? Certainly Esso seem to be throwing more resources at their operation at the moment. Watch this space.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Incredulity strikes ...

I sometimes feel that everyone has gone mad - and events recently have convinced me that I may be right. The whole question of the EU Referendum seems to have transfixed all politicians, commentators and journalists like rabbits caught in car headlights. Cameron's tax, offshore funding, migrants storming the Channel Tunnel, razor wire fences being erected across Europe and the terrorist threat are all reminiscent of a world in panic.

It is then palpably obvious which politicians have feet of clay, and who are not up to the job. It is even more obvious when you see the bias in reporting coming from tv stations and newspapers. Subtlety - not a chance. Both sides of the campaign seem to treat their listeners and readers with utter disdain, as if they are all morons. I was chatting with my best friend via Skype last night and I could not believe how much he was echoing the views of The Daily Mail, and I then realised that all hope was gone. He is a highly intelligent businessman whom I have known for more years than I care to remember. But he is planning to vote for a BREXIT so that the UK can be saved from the waves of illegal immigrants planning to arrive on our shores. And he works for a firm who have opened up shop in the UK so they can access the European market.

After the voting is all over, especially if the vote is to leave the EU, then the UK may well be plunged into a free fall with the value of the pound plummeting. It is rather like opening Pandora's Box, because once opened - that's it. Of course my views are influenced because I am an immigrant here, and would rather like to continue living here. What would happen if the Uk leaves the EU is the great imponderable and there is nothing so worrying as uncertainty.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Summer Time?

The official announcement that summer has arrived in Cyprus has arrived, courtesy of Lord Gracie of Gracie Towers, in the car park of Papantoniou's in Polis. Yes - he was wearing shorts and that is that. It was good to see my friend there, in such fine form, and looking forward to warmer days. I realised that the weather was changing, as I normally change into longer trousers and socks (and a sweater) as the sun goes down. Yesterday and today it is shorts at 21.00 and no feeling of getting cold. Cyprus - "You've got to love it."

We have had a lot of fun in the last couple of days, and picked up a Mahjong set - courtesy of the kind lady at Paphiakos in Peyia, who had seen my post some time ago about such a set. €10,00 - an absolute bargain.

We have a lovely new shower cubicle courtesy of our friend Savvas, which sets off our shower room really well. It was about twelve years ago that our house was built and we are gradually sorting things out that have aged in this unforgiving climate. But we can forgive anything as we sat beside the pool at 18.00 tonight with the temperature at about 24°C, with a cool glass or two of something to hand.

The world continues to gnaw at its entrails, and we look with a great deal of concern at what is happening outside our little bit of paradise. So much is out of our control but it saddens us nevertheless. Quo Vadis ...